Bisecting Tehreek E Taliban Pakistan’s insurgency for its funding source

The United States squarely puts the blame for the failure of the War on Terror and anything related to the Taliban and the Al Qaeda on Pakistan. Unfortunately the bubble is blown by none other than a US congressman. Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher claimed “The Taliban was a construct of the CIA and was armed by the CIA” Let’s explore how far this is true.

In a 1998 interview, Zbigniew Brezinski, Carter’s national security adviser admitted that U.S. aid to the mujahideen factions began before the December 1979 invasion and played a role in inviting the Russians into the region. The entire plan had been to trap the Russians in Afghanistan and use factions such as the Taliban to fight their war for them. According to Brezinski the first ruling for secret aid to the mujahideen came on July 3, 1979 under President Carter himself. Soon after that an American delegation was sent to Pakistan to use it as a puppet to fight their war against the Soviets for them. Pakistan took almost all the losses for the war and the blame for arming the Taliban which could never have been possible without American financing and naturally when the war was over so was the assistance that Pakistan had been promised by the United States. Today Pakistan faces the fallout of what happened back then in the face of a raging insurgency fuelled further by the American presence in Afghanistan that has killed over 2500 Pakistani soldiers and over 8000 Pakistani civilians with over 20000 Pakistanis grievously wounded.

Certain media outlets are telling the World that Pakistan is receiving ‘huge amounts of aid’ and may be supporting the militants to milk that aid. However they aren’t telling the World what makes this theory implausible. According to Pakistan’s Interior Ministry the damage caused to the Nation in the loss of infrastructure and life was $35 Billion in up to July 2009. This was based on a conservative estimate but for lack of other figures we will use this. Since there has been no real let up in the violence from that period the current estimates put the damage to well over $42 Billion in return for a meagre and reluctant American compensation. The exact figure of aid is still unknown and various estimates put it from 4 Billion to 17 Billion. So from being in the War on Terror Pakistan is already at a loss financially without counting the loss in investment and the loss of developing markets for Pakistani exporters.

In any case to have caused such much major damage the Tehreek E Taliban would need to be exceptionally well organized, very well armed and extremely well funded. The well funded and well armed bit specially stands surprisingly true since around 86% of the Taliban have never gone to a college or university before and 40% have only studied till Matric (About 9th grade) or even less. Most of the Taliban soldiers are completely illiterate and can barely sign their names on a piece of paper. The riddle of where the money may be coming from in a country where about 70% of the population lives below $2 a day or even how the major commanders seem to have evaded capture every time Pakistan launches an operation still remains unsolved.

To give the Taliban their due however they have indeed developed a source of funding in Pakistan over time. According to analysts the primary known sources of the Taliban’s wealth are donations from its sympathizers, looting of supply convoys, kidnap for ransom and extortion of protection money. Recent reports indicate that Taliban are even involved in bank robberies in major Pakistani cities such as Karachi while it has also been speculated that a great deal of the poppy growth cultivation in Afghanistan directly benefits the Pakistani Taliban. According to the past governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this reserve seems to be increasing by approximately $45 Million annually. This in itself is a large figure. In fact it is actually just about half of what the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has been capable of spending on the war on terror. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government spent about $89.5 Million on law and order according to the 2009-10 National budget.

According to analysts the Taliban has also accumulated around $250-400 Million of wealth over time. Therefore the word that the Taliban is operating its own government with its own standing finances stands correct.

If any further evidence of this is required, according to a report from Dawn a single Pakistani police constable makes about $80 a month while a Taliban foot soldier in Pakistan makes $170 per month. Even in death the government cannot match up to the Taliban. The heir of a dead policeman receives about $6000 while a suicide bombers family is often given sums of over $20000. The total number of Taliban troops and terrorists associated with other radical organizations operating under the umbrella of the Tehreek E Taliban Pakistan is 35,000. Using the figures and multiplying the yearly expenditure of the Taliban on salaries for its fighters and compensation for the families of suicide bombers the figures add to $72 Million. This is more than the $45 Million they are earning.

Given that the organization has spent approximately $72 Million of its wealth to pay their bombers and their foot soldiers it still leaves the question of acquisition of arms, weaponry and other expenses for its fighters. If that isn’t enough to prove that the Taliban is a power to be reckoned with even bolder is the announcement of Hakeemullah Mahsud the Taliban commander that the Taliban can give $20 Million in aid to the government to provide for the flood victims of Pakistan if the American aid for the floods is rejected.

It is certainly clear that the Taliban is earning more than $45 Million annually and that money is not enough to maintain the group’s terrorist activities. It is also clear that to spend $72 Million yearly they would have to have another income source. This definitely means that either someone from outside is supporting the Taliban or the Taliban have even more sources of income that have not come under the scrutiny of Pakistani analysts and officials.

Pakistan becomes a punching bag: Blaming the ISI

The ISI has been the target of the blame for the monster we face today. Many writers and journalists even within Pakistan have begun taking a page from the American media and questioning whether it is certain Pakistani generals and the ISI secretly supplying the terrorists. The question is could this be true today and if so have these same generals or the ISI actually benefitted from the current situation of Pakistan?

Even if the claim that sympathetic generals within the army are supporting the insurgents holds true the question still remains how can the insurgent’s have estimated wealth reserves of around$250-400 Million when it comprises of a group of ragtag and illiterate men, most of whom cannot read a single passage in any language. If the ISI is responsible, as the US media would have us believe, well then it’s for sure that the agencies entire staff’s salary is being handed over to the Taliban for the group’s sustenance while the agencies own agents and operatives are going home without their salaries. Not to say they are perfectly happy with the murder of their own fellow countrymen by the Taliban. The funds available to the ISI are classified but for an impoverished country like Pakistan it is likely to be much less than $250 Million.

Nonetheless ‘rogue agents’ from the ISI are the focus of the blame. The fact that totally makes this theory baseless is how severely the same intelligence set up of the country has been targeted. A small count of the attacks on the ISI in the country will reveal this.

-The attack in Multan on the ISI building kills 8.

-The attack in Peshawar on the ISI kills around 10.

-ISI provincial headquarters in Lahore attacked on 28th May killing 35 and wounding over 300.

-The brutal murder of 2 main ISI agents Khalid Khwaja and Colonel Imam by the Taliban, the two very same people often blamed for supporting the Taliban were killed by the very people the US media alleged they were supporting.

-The very recent bombing of the ISI building in Faisalabad.

This proves that ISI is losing both men and is suffering severe financial losses in the War on Terror. These are some of the bomb attacks that are known but there are more deaths that are going unaccounted for by the media.

According to an unnamed official many agents and operatives have been sent to the North and South Waziristan region to collect intelligence and have wound up dead. The ISI keeps mum about its losses officially which sometimes makes it hard for people to understand that it has also taken losses in this war.

If the losses are compared to other intelligence agencies the results are strikingly different. Well known CIA operations remain intact in Afghanistan and it’s a surprise that the militants would so selectively attack the locations of the countries intelligence agencies and that also with absolute impunity. What is even more surprising is that many ordinary citizens of Pakistan do not know the locations of the ISI, yet the Taliban have attacked their headquarters in almost every major city.

Another whipping boy: The Pakistani Military

The military has suffered even more financial loss than the ISI. No doubt much of the American aid and assistance is militaristic in nature and ends up in the hands of the Pakistan army however on the other hand this same institution is the primary loser in the violence that has gripped the country.

Asad Khalil a self styled analyst who is trying to get a hold on the real figure on army losses both in terms of finances and personnel claims that the army has suffered at least $7 Billion in losses in the war on terror. If so even the army is losing more financially than it is gaining.

It is made further senseless to suggest that the Pakistani military is supporting terrorism when even videos tapes are revealing that terrorists are being tortured and shot by soldiers themselves enraged by the deaths of their comrades at the hands of the militants. A person just has to walk through any military building to see the fury military men have towards the terrorists.

Furthermore no matter how much we blame the mistakes of the past on our own military including Pakistan’s role in the Afghan civil war it is clear that the military could not have dreamed of facing the Soviets without US support, $4 Billion which were handed over to militants. Would it be sensible for Pakistan to face a superpower of that time such as the Soviets without support and would our leadership have taken the same decision if an American delegation had not come up and demanded help against the Soviets? So perhaps the United States is more to blame for the creation of terrorists than Pakistanis because in reality Pakistan was just used as a puppet state for an American war at that time.

Foreign Support to the Taliban

When it comes to certain Right Wing media groups they have continuously stood up and taken every opportunity to say that terrorism is being sponsored by various intelligence agencies of certain countries that are against the ideal of Pakistan.

The United States has sometimes been blamed for both directly or indirectly supporting terrorism in Pakistan but there has been no real official claim and nothing recorded from an official source. The USA’s activities in Pakistan would quite successfully have evaded the radar when it comes to supporting militants due to the deal the Pakistani government has made with them. Unfortunately for them and fortunately for the Pakistanis the country woke up from its slumber when a man operating in Pakistan as Raymond Davis murdered two Pakistanis on the streets of Lahore in broad daylight. That’s when reports of contacts on his cell phone came up, the gadgets in his car and photographs from his camera containing sensitive locations. There were 33 calls on his cell phone of which 27 were to known or suspected militants.

It appears Davis has been in contact with militants. According to Shakil Ahmed a journalist, Davis was only one of 1200 Blackwater agents spread out across the country. Police officials from Lahore further backed up these claims saying he had close links to militants and was instrumental in recruiting youth for the terrorists. Furthermore the ISI which according to the agreement with CIA is to keep tabs on all agents present in the country does not have Davis in its records.

Many people believe it was unfortunate what happened that day but perhaps it was lucky as it allowed Pakistanis to understand just what is going on in their country.

India has also been blamed and in this case rare examples of politicians, or media supporting these claims have come up. An article in late 2009 appeared claiming India was supporting terrorism in Pakistan and had funnelled $650 to the Taliban insurgents in Pakistan, a fact which was revealed by three captured militants themselves.

Another video appeared on the internet briefly where a militant commander admits to have been paid by India to fuel sectarianism in Pakistan on the television screen. Also after the Sri Lankan cricket team attack a report was made public that had been received by the local police in Lahore. This report can be seen here.

It is also imminent to mention here that India has four consulates in Afghanistan. This is more than the number of consulates a country would want to have in such an impoverished country. What is most alarming for Pakistan is that three of these consulates are right across the border. India has continuously been blamed for fomenting unrest in Baluchistan.

Although the patriotic men and women of Pakistan are prepared to believe these reports and are eager to find out just what exactly they are facing in the shape of an extremely powerful, never ending insurgency and just who exactly is supporting them to destroy Pakistan, the only issue is none of this subject matter related to intelligence is discussed by our politicians and rarely have these claims been backed up.

All this can only mean that India and the United States are both working together to destabilize Pakistan. At this stage the people of Pakistan just want to know what they are facing.

The biggest question is why and how plausible is this theory?

The grim reality is that the Taliban is both earning and spending much more than was initially believed. Someone has to find out from where that money is actually coming from and come out clean once and for all about who is sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan.

The natural suspicion within Pakistan is and if the government tells us what is going on people are willing to actually believe or will it be seen as just another conspiracy theory as anything said against America these days is? The only way to make people believe is to prove it.

Why would the United States betray a key ally like Pakistan?  Many Pakistanis however reply to this question by saying hasn’t it done that in the past by abandoning the Pakistanis in terms of aid and economic support and the Afghans at the mercy of the Taliban whom they used to defeat the Soviets?

The fact is the USA is gaining from terrorism across the World and using it as an excuse to occupy lands where they had no presence in the past. It is also not taking most of the direct losses in the war which are rather pushed on to the local people of the regions where the wars are being fought yet these same allies are also the focus of blame. The United States is clearly hiding a huge secret here. It is more than time for that secret to be revealed and solid concrete proof presentable in the court of law must be brought forward detailing the countries support for terrorism.

If an agreement has been formed between India and USA in this regard this information must be revealed.

Whatever the case the Military is not coming out about who is sponsoring the insurgents while Pakistan is being made a scapegoat for a failing war on terror. At the same time it is surprisingly taking almost all the losses even when the militant groups claim to be fighting Americans.

This is creating a very dangerous situation for Pakistan and the stage is being set to abandon Pakistan again just like it was when it was used as a puppet against the Soviets to defeat them in Afghanistan. Pakistan cannot let the past repeat itself by following the American line again especially if this is some arm twisting manoeuvre where we are being forced even when we know the Americans are supporting terrorism.

Citation

Will present soon

Before dismissing this as a conspiracy theory learn this is a well researched piece for which I contacted 64 different sources. Why go through all this? Because I want to get to the bottom of what is going on in my country and I know for sure swearing on my own life that someone is supporting the Taliban very heavily. To defeat this insurgency that financial support has to be cut.

Advertisements

By Havi Zayed

Though reports are sketchy at this moment it has been confirmed that Halzaar, who gave the gift of education to many poor children despite being from a very poor background, has perished. Though it is not yet clear the very reason for this may be militant activity. The report came in on the 20th of this month and Nationalist media sources had been waiting for confirmation of the incident before releasing it on our sources.

Halzaar who was often called Thomas has been a jewel within the organization for a very long period. In the year 2007 he took it upon himself to put every ounce of his meagre wealth to the promotion of education in Pakistan and started up his first school with the help of other Nationalist volunteers in rural Sindh. In the subsequent years his fame within the various Nationalist organizations skyrocketed as it does in almost all situations where a member donates funds but Halzaar constantly dreamed of a similar school in his own district of Hangu, which was the reason he had spent the end of the last year surveying the district for the poorest of the poorest village to build his second school.

The details surrounding Halzaar’s death are still unknown but family members who live in Karachi confirm that the 32 year old liberal went to visit his home in Thal, Hangu but they had not heard of him since he began the trip. The breakthrough only came recently when villagers from Targhundai found a bullet riddled body in the areas surrounding it which has been identified as Thomas. The village has also suffered a rocket attack recently which has been reported in the news.

If this is proven to be militant activity rather than personal enmity this may very well be the first time a Nationalist of civilian origin has been slain by the militants. In the past some of our men who joined the army voluntarily in order to destroy the terrorist menace have been killed in attacks primarily due to the Nationalist battle zeal that separates our units from others when facing enemies of the state. It is well known that Nationalists with Leftist tendencies and Military ones tend to almost worship the land as a mother tolerating nothing against it.

Most Nationalist leaders including those from the Watan Parast Tehreek which Halzaar primarily served were not available for comment immediately about the death of one of their most important members. However children from Halzaar’s school who are eager to learn are already depressed about what the future may hold for them. “Halzaar used to pay my child’s fees” a parent says. “Will anyone be able to take this man’s place to support the poor people of rural Sindh?

The question remains to be answered.

By Havi Zayed

Lord Zerab Salamat the supreme leader of the Pakistan Nationalist Association has released a statement saying that the Nationalists would rest at nothing less than the hanging of American agent Raymond Davis who was arrested for cold blooded murder of two Pakistanis on the streets of Lahore. Another car belonging to the American embassy mowed down a Pakistani motorcyclist while heading towards Davis.

Pakistani annoyance with America has been reaching its peak as the country continually blames Pakistan for its own mistakes and has been treating Pakistan as a pet dog rather than as an equal ally. After the American invasion of Afghanistan the insurgency the United States created to fight the Soviets has spilt into Pakistan. Yet Pakistan is being made the focus of International blame due to the American media despite both its losses and the fact that without the United States the country could not even have thought of facing the Soviets.

Pew Global Polls a US based research group shows that the image of the United States in the country is still highly negative and has fallen from 60% of the population holding negative views of USA in 2005 to 68%. At the same time positive views of the country have also fallen. The recent incident is sure to ensure that the trend continues or is perhaps excelled.

Zerab Salamats Speech

To a gathered crowd of about 300 young Pakistani men and women in Muqaddar Mansion, Zerab gave a fiery statement in regard to the brutal killings by Raymond Davis which the US government is trying to cover with the excuse of diplomatic immunity.

The speech which lasted about 12 minutes answered a number of questions present in the minds of many Nationalists about the movements regards to foreign interference.

It was also a lashing attack on American behaviour in the region. He said that Pakistan was important to the rest of the World and if the USA did not stop treating Pakistan as a colony the people of the country may get sick of the behaviour and rise up in revolt. At the same time he made it clear that terrorism was a major threat that had to be dealt with or without the presence of the USA. “It would be a great pleasure not to have allies that betray their friends but it is clear that the militants are a threat and are just waiting to be used (by foreign powers). They must be eliminated for daring to wage war against the country. They have shown their true face as the betrayers they are by blowing up their own people. If their war was against the US why are they attacking us and weakening our country?” This reiterated the point that the Taliban and USA’s hypocritical attitude towards Pakistan is equal in Nationalist eyes.

To a question concerning American links to Taliban activities in the region the veteran replied “there is no doubt about it that the Americans are hiding something and we know well that their embassies are hotspots for their secret operatives whom they cover as staff. We also know that the US has worked with the terrorists in the past and forced us on the path (Soviet Afghan War) and are now trying their best to pin the blame on our revered institutions. We understand someone is clearly supporting the Taliban both monetarily and with weapons as the findings of our commission reveal. Since we have limited access to the region we have been unable to find out who but it is clear that such a thing can be done by a traitorous ally who can use the traitorous Taliban as puppets for its gains (Referring to the Soviet era).”

Falshim Amerat another very famous leader of the Organization who was contacted also called for action against American mercenary groups. “Pakistan is not a tool for the west to use and abandon. This is our land and they will realize that even if they have bought the government they cannot challenge the might of Pakistani law or the entire country will rise up. Davis must be hanged. We often find ourselves at odds with the religious parties when it comes to how much of a role religion should have in the country’s rule but here we agree completely. A traitor is a traitor whether American, Indian or a separatist and there is no doubt in our minds how one of such breed should be treated. CIA must stop all activities in Pakistan.”

This is indeed a very important point in Pakistani American relations that will decide the countries future. Either the Americans back off and accept the will of the Pakistani people or understand that this government is about to fall and may be replaced by one much less accommodating to American demands.

By Havi Zayed

Education is the universal right of each and every individual. However continuously due to the utter corruption and failure of successive governments this field has been pathetically neglected in Pakistan. Even today the expenditure on education in Pakistan is one of the lowest in the world and usually sits at 2% of the GDP most of the time. The maximum it has ever reached is 2.80%.

Currently Pakistan has a literacy rate of approximately 57% which is one of the lowest in the World, though independent observers agree that literacy has increased in the past years. However the number can be expected to be lower than the 57% estimate considering the fact that an apathetic government has had a role in accumulating these figures.

Our description of how we find the literacy rate is defined as “aged 10 and over can read and write.” If a child who is ten years of age can somehow sign his name on a piece of paper he is literate according to the government. This apathy and ignorance towards education has led to a major problem in Pakistan and is not only prevalent in the government but also in many circles of the poverty stricken masses.

Why Primary Education, why not a complete Universal Education System?

In any country, especially one that has a high illiteracy rate like Pakistan all education must be a must and enrolment in primary institutions ensured. However we are talking about making only primary education must by law because it is an achievable target which can be accomplished provided the law is implemented and children in those age groups found roaming the streets on week days are picked up and sent right to school as they deserve to be.

Every great intention starts with a single step in the right direction, therefore it is a sensible for a start rather than impose a law the country simply does not have the means to administer.

By estimate we have 156,653 Primary institutions in the country which should be enough to accommodate Pakistan’s population of children of about 4-10 years. This estimate is gained by multiplying 156,653 primary institutions into an average number of students they can accommodate (Approximately 100). This gives the figure 15,665,300 which is the number of students these institutions can accommodate. This is approximately the total population of children between those age’s in the country.

Therefore according to these numbers Pakistan does have enough primary institutions in the country to though it is clear that many being concentrated in the cities and urban areas, there will be children in the rural areas who do not have a primary school in their area to go to at all. In these areas work needs to be started immediately on a school for the children to go to.

Problems involved: Corruption & Non Implementation of Laws

Pakistan is fully capable of enforcing such a rule as there are enough Primary schools in Pakistan to accommodate these children.

The most important factor in the implementation of this ideal is indeed the old issue in Pakistan of what role the police and the other upholders of the law will play. In Pakistan the problem is often that there are laws but those same laws are ignored and not properly implemented. A fine of 500 Rupee’s will have to be imposed on anyone who refuses to send their children to school while the police will have to enforce the rule rather than ignoring someone who disregards it.

Another problem is rampant corruption, especially when it is the rich or middle class involved the exchange of bribes becomes common. Therefore a great deal lies on whether the primary schools run by the government do not have all their funding being eaten by corrupt officials. Indeed many rural schools in Pakistan lack teachers who stop teaching because they aren’t being paid by the government. Many schools listed are even bogus with the local official in charge claiming their presence simply to take the funds for himself. Though this is a separate topic the government will have to bring transparency here and ensure that the funds are properly being utilized. Proper audits and checks must be maintained.

How to go about implementing it?

Enforcement would no doubt start from the urban centers and would most affect the young street urchins we see on the streets of our famous cities begging as a means to sustain themselves. The rural towns and villages close to these urban centers would be the next where the effects of this law are implemented and felt.

The task will begin to get more difficult as the program moves further into the rural areas that are more further from these urban population centers. Here the problem of people unwilling to send female children to school will become all the more apparent, though the problem would be existent in other areas including the Urban ones as well people. They must be convinced by separate classes or if possible separate school buildings for the students of different sexes.

In the far flung and remoter rural areas that are cut off from other parts of the country implementing this will be a very difficult task. In these areas the difficulty to enforce such a law will be magnified by the fact that there are no real police stations for miles and no real administrative authorities to enforce it. This also further increases the chances of corruption taking place. There is no doubt that it can be accomplished but it will require resolve.

In reality everything lies with the will of the Pakistani people to change their own standard of living. If they use this and every such opportunity to develop their country to steal from it or ignore their duties the result of any scheme or plan will be a failure. Education is the right of every Pakistani. It is time to take a small but necessary step in this direction.

It is quite sickening that there would be people in this country that actually celebrate the murder of another human being. This scenario has been most evident in the recent murder of Punjab governor Salman Taseer by his guard Malik Hussain Qadri of the Elite Force.

Even the religious parties instead of coming out and condemning the killing have used the murder as another opportunity to continue with their piggish ranting over not repealing the Blasphemy law without concern for how the law is being used even while a murder has taken place in the country .

The Blashphemy Law: Legalizing Terrorism

The blasphemy law has no doubt become a tool for terrorists to use to punish and murder innocent people. This entire debate has nothing to do with the Prophet being insulted. It is simply about the fact that terrorists and such like-minded individuals continue to have the right to frame innocent people for acts of blasphemy they never committed in the first place. Over 90% of the cases of Blasphemy are raised on the basis of people trying to settle personal scores and blaming others to achieve their land or settle a dispute in their own favor. Not all of them are even Non Muslim but still the terrorist supporters have such influence that they continue supporting the law. These core supporters of terrorism are the real troublemakers as they try to make the others believe that repealing the law is actually against Islam even when the law is so vaguely worded and murderers and killers are using it.

This terrorist law is being used to frame innocent people of having insulted Islam and anyone can make that dubious claim. Even a cleric who has released fatwas against terrorism have been killed by mobs who claim he was a blasphemer. In another famous case Akhter Hamid Khan who was working for the people of Orangi in Karachi to help them move to a better standard of living was booked under the law by criminals and other groups with vested interests who did not want his development work to continue in Orangi because it was against their own. He was booked under false charges of the blasphemy law even though he never insulted the Prophet or Quran as he was Muslim himself. Of course the terrorists on the other hand go unpunished as they kill and pillage because of this law every single time and get what they want. In fact this is a law that facilitates terrorism and it is terrorists who are actually defending the law.

The fact that Salman Taseer was killed because he rightly opposed this law must ensure that the law is destroyed completely and a message be sent to the traitorous terrorists and their cohorts that they will not be allowed to treat Pakistan as their play area.

I personally am not a supporter of Salman Taseer and I agree that he was corrupt and has habits that may be described as UnIslamic but murdering someone just because we disagree with him is TERRORISM. The groups celebrating the brutality committed this day must be very ashamed of themselves.

The Quran states “Whoever kills a human being it is as if he has killed all of humanity”

It also states “Let my faith be mine and yours be yours.”

We have no right NO RIGHT to kill someone because we see him as Unislamic. Malik Hussain Qadri has committed a major crime and people must stop presenting him as a hero because he is not. He is a major traitor who has committed an unforgivable crime. Salman Taseer may have been many things but he was not a blasphemer and we have no right to randomly name anyone as such much less kill him.

It is sad that Pakistanis are simply not understanding the idea of live and let live. Some of these people supporting the murder may think they are the better Muslims but they are in reality the ones who have deviated from their religion.

By Havi Zayed

The Nationalist Monthly has remained the primary magazine for Pakistani Nationalists residing in North America for the past 2 years. It is available for distribution across the United States and Canada chapters of the Pakistan Nationalist Association and has been the only magazine available for members of all the various movements in these two countries. It allows Nationalists to stay updated on current news events concerning Pakistan expressed from a Nationalist outlook and about events impacting their own community. It is published in Canada. However recently certain members have expressed reservations over the content being too Canada focused. Zarir, a key member of the Pakistan Nationalist Association residing in Newyork, United States has been the most outspoken of these.

In an open letter addressed to the Canada Chapter of the Pakistan Nationalist Association Zarir Khalid has requested for changes to be made in the content appearing in the Nationalist Monthly. Zarir’s work mostly involves sending money back to Pakistan for various social projects and is known more often as a sponsor for certain various organizations social activity rather than an active worker of the movement. However his influence in the movement has grown in the past two years with his increased donations to humanitarian aid groups.

In the letter he writes “Instead of focusing on Pakistani politics and Nationalist activity in Pakistan where it actually matters the magazine seems obsessed about what members did in Canada, events taking place in Toronto where the Nationalist community is involved and other chapter specific information no one really cares about”

Information gathered at our Toronto office in Thorncliffe further reinforces what Zarir has said. Many members have expressed their dissatisfaction with the information provided in the magazine claiming it is sometimes irrelevant to what they are actually looking for. Ahmed a Toronto based member says “What we want in the Nationalist Monthly and on the website is Pakistan related information. We want to stay updated about what’s going on there because helping Pakistan is our goal. To achieve that goal we need to know about each and every single thing that takes place in Pakistan.”

Another member Ali backs Ahmed up. “We already know about the events taking place here as we are invited to them anyway. Every event that takes place in Toronto, we are a part of it. We are closely connected with Nationalism in Canada but the problem is staying updated on Pakistan. I will not be treated like a “burger” outsider when I return to my own country. The information in the Nationalist Monthly needs to be more Pakistan centric. As for the website it needs to be broader and should have more regular postings.”

Zarir further adds. “To be clear the Canada chapter is made up of about 250 Nationalists all divided amongst various organizations. The majority of members, about 9000 of them are in Pakistan so clearly that’s where we should be focusing on. The writers of the magazine may be in Canada but they must remember they are writing about Pakistan not the Canada Chapter of the Pakistan Nationalist Association.”

At the same time Zarir has also gone further to criticize the Pakistan Nationalists Associations web effort describing it as extremely shallow. “I mean the entire site is filled with praise for certain Canadian or British chapter members, information about long forgotten death threats which are again an exclusively Canada-chapter issue, and articles written about certain topics related to Pakistan’s current affairs by a small group of writers with the same names appearing constantly one of which is the Chapter head. It’s just surprising how shallow the content is and over-focused it is with the Canada Chapter even though its the only site run by Nationalists. It’s actually surprising you are thinking of buying a domain. There should be a detailed report on every event that takes place in Pakistan and it should be turned into a news source so that rather than reading the propaganda of the Times daily we can read something worth our time.”

Endgame

All these views are not new and have been stated in the past but no changes have been made to the content citing the fact that there is a vacuum of information arriving from Pakistan due to a lack of magazine reporters in Pakistan. There have also been limited writers for both the magazine and web effort. However everyone agrees it may well be time for at least some changes in the Nationalist Monthly allowing for the inclusion of more Pakistan centric information that replaces the Canada chapter based information. This specially stands true as the latest information reveals the Nationalist Monthly has been gaining a small readership in Pakistan as well.

By Havi Zayed

Though members were always barred from promoting any political party or displaying or bringing any of their ethnic or religious divisions into the framework of not just the Pakistan Nationalist Association but all other organizations there was no real article that banned such behavior with the threat of expulsion from the movement. There is now such a rule even within the Pakistan Nationalist Association.

The Pakistan Nationalist Association’s purpose is to promote unity amongst Pakistanis. Until we keep seeing ourselves as separate entities rather than only and only as Pakistanis we are only causing issues for ourselves and our country. No comment that is even mildly insulting to any member of any ethnic or religious group in Pakistan will be tolerated even as a joke.

The habit of dividing ourselves further and further has allowed political parties to use and pitch us against ourselves. In the end it is the very land our forefathers sacrificed their lives for that suffers.

Our ultimate loyalty is to the Pakistani motherland, not to a political party, not to our religious sect and neither to our ethnic identity all of which must be abandoned and forgotten for the best interest of the Pakistani State. One approach to help abandon this tradition of dividing ourselves further and further is that our future generations, our children must not even be told which ethnic group they belong to and taught at least five languages spoken within the borders of Pakistan to ensure that they only see themselves as Pakistanis. We on a basic level must not tell anyone which ethnic group or religious sect we belong to, if someone asks our members must tell them “I do not divide myself unnecessarily for I am not a traitor to my land. I am a Pakistani only and that is only the identity that matters.”

This is the only way for progress.No developed country, no people, no race in the world allows itself to fall to such pathetic divisions. We cannot let our perceived differences control our mindsets.

Supporting Political Parties on PNA platform strictly forbidden

No one can stop our members from voting as that is a constitutional right of every individual. However extreme loyalty or support for any political party that borders almost to the extent of the Love our members have for their country is unacceptable. There is no ban on supporting the parties. Supporting them too much and being incapable of hearing criticism for them is a problem. The fact is there are corrupt enemies of the Pakistani people in every political party and they have hijacked our land.

In fact it is the over loyalty to these political parties and ethnic identities that has led to much of the violence in Karachi and causes even further divisions. The party leaders have young foolish men who are slaves to the parties and blindly support them to kill other Pakistanis. This leads to an explosive ethnic atmosphere.

The ideal behind these rules

The ideal of these newly introduced rules is to forge unity and reiterate our older point. There is absolutely nothing that our members can be more loyal to or love more than their country. If they hold anything above the divinity of the Pakistani state or even close to it this movement is not for them.The movement was formed for those that understood their responsibility to their motherland and did something about it.

It is a grave insult to ask anyone his or her ethnic identity and is equivalent to putting something before Pakistan. Its shameful that people seem to do so with no regret. Members who have shared this information as a non consequential piece of information must now remember Article 13 before they venture into such ridiculous divisions. This rule exists only for the benefit of Pakistan.

Written By Fazl Qureshi*

Edited by Havi Zayed

There has been frustration because many of the Nationalist Organizations are completely disorganized when it is about knowing about their own numbers and their own people. There are sometimes no real records available of members.

A recent meeting of the All Pakistan Nationalist Movement has changed this however. All the largest organizations have agreed that they will put together their resources and conduct a survey with no bias and find the exact number of their members. The numbers of each organization will also be added up finally to give the total number of Nationalists.

This means that a tally of each and every Nationalist is going to take place with all organizations participating. The Pakistan Nationalist Association has already formed a Box at its location and provided a small form for members to put their details into, which they will put into the box. The PNA will then create a database of each and every one of its members with each chapter head responsible for organizing his own chapter. Once all the results have come they will be checked by figures all over and by the “United Statistics Board” which includes even those who are not from inside the PNA to make sure there is no organizational bias. Once the results are confirmed they will be added up with the other organizations and it will be checked which members are in two organizations and the same time so they are not counted. Then these results will be collected and will give the exact number of Nationalists.

Many Nationalists have had a positive reaction to this move. Shehzad Riwayat praised the move as a breakthrough and said it would help in finding the exact number. He also said it was sensible for all the organizations to make a members database of all its members and said that his private group Shehzad Riwayat’s Patriots would help any organization in help needed to create and maintain this database.

Mansur Elahi has said it is a major breakthrough that is going to create major opportunity to “study and analyze” ourselves and understand “where we are today as compared to where we were yesterday.” Sabir Zafar the Chapter head for PNA’s Saudi Arabia Chapter has also welcomed the initiative while Samir Hayat claims that it is a Revolutionary change to see the Organizations working together like this. A similar reaction has been seen by the general mass of Nationalists who believe they are now heading in the right direction.

It must be remembered that in early 2007 a half-hearted attempt at finding the exact number which accumulated in a joint initiative by the Pakistan Nationalist Association and Pakistan Patriotic Front had produced disappointing results and missed out completely on new members who did not have official membership status. It specially caused difficulty with the other organizations who were in confident about being left out of the process.

It is hoped this attempt will result in better results.

*Some parts of this piece were later added by Havi Zayed.

Years of unrelenting terror and its local fallout

Despite the success of the army operations in Swat and Malakand there have been continual complaints from the local people over the fact that many militant commanders still remain at large. This is one of the many factors contributing to the fear that the militants will take control of the region when the army will leave. The fact that the militants are still capable of continually bombing their cities and attacking their elders is also contributing to this fear.

However the biggest issue is how the militant organizations have been able to survive time after time despite constant operations launched for the purpose of eradicating them seemingly coming out again and again to claim assassinations and bomb attacks. This has resulted in resentment locally and much speculation from neo liberal anchors and media persons very used to following the traditional US line who question whether the Pakistan Army is serious about eliminating the militants. Since the media has no hope to offer much of this frustration is carried on to the common man who is exasperated that the insurgency simply does not seem to end and the war that makes their lives so miserable goes on unrelenting.

As a result many people even within the areas where terrorists have made local lives difficult making military operations imminent blame the government or the army for many of their problems including the war on terror which many people feel their country has no reason to be in. There is a reason to this dissatisfaction. People within the areas where war is being waged are frustrated by constant curfews which hurt locals and the shelling and aerial bombardment that often lead to civilian causalities.

To make it worse many issues the people face are even turned a blind eye further aggravating the situation. This in turn puts the idea in their minds that the Pakistan Army is playing a double game to milk western aid and killing its own people to earn it rather than terrorists who are few in number and manage to escape. A theory that would be very plausible had Pakistan not suffered $48 Billion of damage in acts of terrorism till today with the army suffering at least $4 Billion of those losses.

In any case the local causalities are indeed giving the impression that is already common in most Pakistani minds that the government is fighting a war it has no stake in, killing its own people and selling the Nation just so that it can fill its own pockets with American Dollars.

The situation truly needs to be addressed and people need to feel the army is on their side but the question remains who gains from this situation where the trust between the army and certain segments of the public has been reduced to such an extent where some people are not willing to trust the same men whose principle is supposed to be to protect the very lives of Pakistan’s public?

Pakistan becomes a scapegoat

While the USA ups the ante and continues blaming Pakistan for an insurgency the United States own money helped fund and create many generals within the Pakistan Army themselves strongly believe that their so called ally has been supporting local terrorists in Pakistan through the supply of arms, ammunition and various forms of financial support. To the liberals this may sound far-fetched but in reality it’s not very hard to believe considering the United States has done so in the past funnelling over 4 Billion dollars which included lump sums to commanders, arms, ammunition and training to the many mujahedeen groups during the Afghan Soviet War.

Much of the aid naturally happened to reach the Taliban with the full support and blessing of the CIA according to now declassified CIA documents but the powerful American media flanked by its Indian cohorts has successfully made Pakistan the scapegoat. This isn’t a difficult task since Pakistan is the country that had been passing on the United States assistance to the Taliban as the intermediary throughout all this time. The fact that Pakistan has a weaker media that still finds it difficult to take a Nationalist stand and show the Pakistani side of the picture while American media such as The Times or Fox News continues to portray Pakistan as a country that is playing a double game does little to reduce this perception.

Learning Lessons from the Afghan/Soviet War

The result of years of living under a terrorist threat that does not seem to disappear but just bounces back with every action the country takes is clear. Certain small and frustrated segments of society have cropped up to put the entire blame squarely on the ISI and the Army without thought. However according to most of Pakistan’s elite and middle class the blame often goes to Zia Ul Haq for creating the kind of mindset organizations such as the Taliban thrive on but few seem to remember that it was the Americans who came to him promising their full cooperation and opening up the doors of military aid and economic assistance to Pakistan in return for support against the Soviets. If this was the case at that time how different was it after the 9/11 attacks when the Americans came to Pakistan again demanding us to fight the same people they funded and created. If we were used at that time taking all the losses and took the blame later isn’t that exactly what’s happening again and what guarantee do we have that we are not going to be abandoned when the war is over like we were in past?

Zia Ul Haq today is Pakistan’s scapegoat with much of the population blaming his Islamicization for the problems we face today. This is indeed true but we fail to realize that he was used by the Americans in their war and made the very same mistake we are making today. He trusted the Americans over their claims that they would support Pakistan both economically and militarily. The support as it turned out lasted until the Soviets withdrew.

Zia Ul Haq even in his dreams would not have thought of facing the Soviets in the 1980’s if not for the insistence of the greatest superpower in the World, a superpower that awarded his country’s dedication to supporting them with the Presler Amendment, arms embargoes and an end to economic aid when it was handling an influx of 3 Million Afghan refugees other than the fact that about 70% of its own population were living in difficult economic conditions.

The truth is it’s great to look within and accept the problems in our society. It is an undeniable truth that there is intolerance and bigotry in our society which needs to be eradicated. It is clear that whenever our army has taken part in an internal operation it has often left more grievances and only partially solved the problem. The formation of Bangladesh and the simmering resentment in Baluchistan are clear examples. It is also evident that Pakistan has no business physically interfering in the affairs of another country no matter how bad things may appear.

Finally it’s imminent for us to understand that we cannot let foreign Nations continue to interfere in our country and influence our policies for their own benefits. Zia Ul Haq got the push to support the insurgency in Afghanistan from the United States, an insurgency Pakistan should never have had a part in as it produced only radicalism and if it was senseless to join that war on American insistence, Pakistan should never have had a part in the war today.


Pakistan Nationalist Association salutes the men and women of our armed forces who have drained their blood for their country and yet for their sacrifice all they have to hear is “do more” or blame that the Intelligence network that provides them with the information that allows them to move into those areas and successfully clear the militants is playing a “double game”. Betrayed by their so called closest ally these men fight the intolerance of the Taliban and in many cases the severe corruption and the sale of National Interest internally. Their sacrifice from the 1948 conflict to today in itself explains the very reason why the army is so respected in our country and why this one institution still manages to hold influence and authority despite efforts by the corrupt and foreign powers to malign it. Influence it will continue to hold no matter what psychological war is being conducted.  Though not without its faults the Military still is the only institution that can help Pakistan. One of the primary reasons is it is significantly less corrupt than other institutions.

PNA also officially expresses solidarity with the men and women of Pakistan who are continually suffering due to the treason of a few individuals. Be they political criminals or mobsters who steal mobiles and cars, the hidden politicians supporting them believing no one knows them or too few people know to cause any major difference, people who believe they have a right to practice corruption while 60% of our population lives below $2 a day, or fanatical terrorists and mass murderers. The treason within Pakistan remains the gravest threat to the country not foreign interference. Foreigners cannot interfere unless someone allows himself to be sold while ignoring the best interests of his own country. We as Pakistanis cannot continue the way we are going. We must accept the ideal of “National Interest First” even before our own interest and help other Pakistanis in need regardless of race, religion and without any other thought. Every decision we take makes a difference. It should be calculated beforehand whether it will cause our country pain or will it improve things.

It should also be clear that when the majority of the population feels that the successive governments have done nothing to alleviate their problems and survive on the bare minimum it is natural the Taliban and its foreign employers have a market to tap into. According to reports many joining their ranks are extremely poor people who have been utterly ignored by the government being paid to fight rather than being those with limited knowledge about Islam like the Taliban and bloodthirsty in nature.

The Nationalist Movements have suffered in the past for their outspoken criticism of those who have ignored their country for their pathetic gains regardless of what authority or power they possess but this suffering has made the movement stronger and this strength will only increase. Rest assured in the future every child that goes to one of our schools will emerge a Nationalist. Another generation of Nationalists is ready.